Between navigating frustrating and complex billing and collections processes, managing providers and staff, and modifying processes and procedures at the whim of payors and the government, medical practice administrators have a uniquely challenging role. For this reason, most practice managers prefer to outsource their routine daily and periodic housekeeping services.
However, whether you outsource these services or use an in-house team, it is important to consider the following items as you develop your budget and strategy for keeping your practice looking and feeling clean.
The primary cleaning/housekeeping duties in an outpatient medical facility are (1) cleaning floors, (2) wiping and dusting surfaces, (3) removing trash, and (4) cleaning restrooms and break areas.
See below some considerations unique to medical practice.
Most medical practices have a combination of hard surface flooring and carpet throughout the office. Exam rooms, lobby areas, and entrances tend to be hard surface floors, while hallways and nurses/medical assistants stations tend to be carpeted. Hard surface floors take a longer time to clean because a cleaner must first sweep the floor and then wet mop the floor. Carpeted floors do not take as long as they only need to be vacuumed and occasionally spot cleaned.
Other Cleaning Duties
Some other cleaning duties are very standard in all types of facilities, but still need a lot of attention inside medical facilities. Processes such as wiping down surfaces, removing trash, and cleaning restrooms/break areas may take some time to clean, especially if there is a lot of them.
Time of Day When Cleaning Work is Done.
Medical offices are often cleaned after 5:00 pm. This time of day makes it often easier to find part-time team members who may want to earn a little extra cash at the end of the day. Also, because the work is overly physically straining, it makes it easier for team members to finish a full day at one job and transition over to cleaning in another. This may mean that it might be easier to hire workers at a wage rate that isn’t as high as say a tough, hot manufacturing facility.
Trash – Box Meals, Food, Lots of Trash Cans.
This component makes the cleaning medical offices a little unique. The medical profession is one of the only professions that regularly has lunch catered in (drug representatives bringing lunch to a presentation). The amount of trash that is collected during these lunches is more than the office kitchen trash can can handle! This makes the process of collecting the trash a little more difficult and tough to predict. For instance, 40 box lunches are more difficult to throw away than a Subway sandwich platter.
One item unique to medical facilities is the number of sinks that the facility has. Each sink in each examination room must be cleaned daily. This obviously makes the time it takes to clean the facility longer. Therefore, the man hours are greater, with greater man hours the price is going to be higher than if the sinks were not there.
Consumable products are always a very important item in every facility type – no one wants to be without toilet paper in the bathroom. But in a medical facility, each exam room needs their hand soap and hand towels stocked up. Keeping the soap and hand sanitizer stocked in each exam room is imperative to the operation of a medical facility. On top of the consumable in the exam rooms, all the regular consumables must be restocked often. Bathrooms and break areas must also be restocked regularly.
Lobbies and Common Spaces
Inside medical facilities there are also lots of lobby areas and common spaces sometimes shared by different offices and practices. It is important that these areas are kept clean and sanitary. First impressions are important and no medical office wants it’s patients coming into an unclean medical facility.
Production Rate Slow
As mentioned above, production rates are slower in medical facilities because of the amount of hard surface floor – which takes more time to clean. These longer production rates make it more difficult to clean the facility as quickly as an office space which has mostly only carpet.
Not Too Dirty
One saving grace of medical facilities it that they don’t get too dirty! The same cleaning company that is cleaning your medical facility may have another account with a local manufacturing company or factory. They will tell you that a medical facility doesn’t get nearly as dirty as a manufacturing facility!
Once all these considerations are considered, it will be easier for you as a busy practice manager to find the right price for you cleaning service.